Blackadder wants more midweek tour matches

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says that he wants his team to play more midweek
matches against touring Test nations in the future.

The Crusaders sold out AMI Stadium on Tuesday for their match against England
and even though the seven time champions lost 7-38 Blackadder wants more of
the same.

The match in Christchurch was the Crusaders first against an international
team and Blackadder congratulated “whoever organised this”.

Blackadder captained an All Black midweek team in 1996 and says that the concept
of games against provinces or franchises “fantastic”.

“It’s a great opportunity for England and for us. I know what it’s like
to be a midweek All Black. For those guys (in the England team on Tuesday night),
they probably haven’t had a lot of opportunities and this was their opportunity
to have a hit-out, as well.

“I think it’s a win-win. It’s great that England were here in Christchurch
and great that their focus was around the earthquake. We certainly missed them
here at the World Cup.”

Blackadder hopes to get more midweek games in the future and said that the
Crusaders “would never turn down the opportunity” to play another
international team.

“It’s certainly good for the touring team and it’s also really good for
teams like the Crusaders and the Blues, last year when they played France.

“It’s a wonderful occasion. You should never underestimate how much of
an impact it will have on young men and their future careers.”

Blackadder used the match to blood three new players locks Scott Barrett, Joel
Everson and prop Siate Tokolahi and he said the occassion is not something they
will forget.

“Three of them in the first game were playing England. It’s something
they will cherish for the rest of the careers and they’ll go on, one day, hopefully
to become All Blacks.”

“They may get an opportunity to play a club team, as well, and they’ll
know what it’s like. These are lifelong memories.”

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach backed Blackadder’s call for more midweek
matches and said that the 17,300 fans that turned up helped bring in an estimated
$25,000 profit.

“We would like to see more of them. I think it was a really exciting development
when the French played the Blues last year.”

“It was wonderful, special – the result aside,” Riach told the Press.

“There was an immense amount of goodwill from the RFU (England’s Rugby
Football Union) and the England team. “

“We received an overwhelming number of comments about what that game meant
to the city. “

“We had some dignitaries with us who were delighted Christchurch was able
to host and enjoy it as an historic event.

English Rugby Football Union chairman Bill Beaumont told the crowd that it was
“a great honour and privilege to be the first international team to play
the Crusaders”.

Beaumont added that England were disappointed that they did not get to play
matches in Christchurch during the world cup and that they wanted to salute
“the strength and fortitude” shown by Christchurch people “in
the face of adversity”.

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